17th July (1997) in Dalit History – First Dalit President, K. R. Narayanan, was elected in India
On the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of India’s independence, K R Narayan was elected President of India. Supported by an alliance of principal political forces, ranging from communist parties to Hindu nationalists, he won 95 percent of the votes, till then the best result ever obtained by a presidential candidate. It was the first time a Dalit had been elevated in such brilliant fashion to the highest position in the Indian Republic.
Narayanan began his career in India as a member of the Indian Foreign Service in the Nehru administration. He served as ambassador to Japan, United Kingdom, Thailand, Turkey, People’s Republic of China and United States of America and was referred to by Nehru as “the best diplomat of the country”